• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Lee Family Digital Archive

Windsor Nov 14th 1888

 

My dear George,

I began a business letter before Nanny a few hours ago, that was meant for John, and I think I am in disgrace with Nanny in consequence of it. She has gone upstairs, & seems to intend staying there the remainder of the evening. As I am in disgrace, I will make the best use of my time, and try to finish my letter before she comes down again. When I am ill, I wonder if I am going to do so. I shall give my children orders, to keep me in order. But I thought my poor Nanny so much better, that I did not suppose my writing a letter would annoy her. She has been very ill, but is now doing very well. Dr. Herring has been to see her and says, that her case is not hopeless. He acknowledges that there is a cavity in her left lung, but pronounces the right one in good order. He says, that she is completely broken down, but that by taking hypophosphates, and the tonics she may be so much strengthened as to resist the disease. He thinks, if she can regain her strength, there is every reason to hope the place in the lung will heal, and will be covered in time by the membrane over the lung. We hope a little now. She commenced taking the medicines this morning. Your aunt expects to go to Richmond next week, and Nanny will follow her in a few days, either Robert or Alice going with them. If the latter, she will pay them a short visit. We have had two or three very pleasant days, but another rain seems to be coming now. We have been deluged this fall. Robert has gotten all of his corn off the low-grounds, and I saw him hauling up the highland corn to-day. He has made about half a crop on the low-grounds. He has much to trouble him now. I do not think I have written you of Willy Wilkinson’s death yet. He died in Colorada [sic], at the Virginians silver mines, or rather, he was ill there of pneumonia four days, & was then taken to Duray, a town thirty miles off, that he might have a physician and proper care. He was perfectly aware that he must be, & the Dr who attended him had little hope from the first. He said afterwards, that Willy’s left lung was not in good order, and that his life would probably have been a short one under [the circum] stances. The grief of the whole family has been terrible, and the poor mother is inconsolable. Nothing has been heard lately of Charley Wilkinson, and Mrs Wilkinson has convinced herself that he is dead, and Willis is sick enough to require a physician, and she is very uneasy about him. The poor Captain too has suffered very much from rheumatism. The Virginins mines seem to me to be sinks of rudeness, roughness, and iniquity. Eddie Wilkinson always was a cub bear, but Willis was more like Willy, who was the flower of the flocks. He has returned home however with Eddie’s rough manners. We are all sorry about it. The Dr said, --who attended Willy, that his left lung was not right, and that under any circumstances, his life would probably have been a short one. Forgive me for repeating this. I am finishing my letter Thursday morning. Mrs Wilkinson is quite well off now. She has about twelve thousand dollars to invest. Willys physician must have [letter torn] of Dr Jones’ McLaw. He said, that [letter damaged] was from Richmond, and his relations lived in Powhatan at one time. He has a brother stationed at a fort in Colorada. Both are physicians. I got a letter from John this week. The poor fellow is in trouble. His hundred dollars was lent to Jack, who keeps saying he is going to return it, but does not do it. He owes you twelve dollars, he tells me. Be patient with him for a while. The freshets, and repairing the house, make Robert and myself very impecunious. And I am trying to save money to get away from here, and to do that, I am obliged to bring some furniture. I wish to leave here in July, and I shall [be] so thankful when I get away. There is something to be said on Alice’s side, but she is ill bred, is entirely deficient in gentleness and sweetness of character. She means well. I have heard from him late by Julia Lawton married to Mr. Lumpkin yesterday, and has gone to Warrenton to live. Mr Grey is to be married the 21st, & then the last thing to excite Powhatan for the present, will be over. The neighbors are all well. Kate is still in Charlottesville, with the Nelsons. Fortesene has been under the dentist’s hands; he had a front tooth pulled, and several plugged, and has suffered dreadfully. All join me in love to you & Ella. You will have to be very careful of her, but I am so unhappy here, that I cannot hear it any longer. I have told Robert I am going to R. M. to live with John, and he said, he thought it a good plan. I think there has been a wish to do right on Alice’s side, but wishes only will not accomplish much. And she loves power, & is so despotic and overhearing that she cannot make any of us feel at home in her house. I have been very careful to save Robert’s feelings in every way, & my reasons, that I can give, forgoing, are excellent. I think John will do well after a while. He has been appointed notary public, and that will help him. Mildred has been quite sick. She took a hot bath, & had neuralgia from it. But she is now well. The Medical Convention met not long ago in Norfolk & the Dr was distinguished by a paper he wrote. It made us all happy. We have not seen Katharine for some time. Bad weather has partly prevented. She is well. Richard is improving daily. He thinks he is in love with Minna Finney, & is always running to Richmond. Mrs. Gilliam is still there, and Polly & Jack are at home, & both well. Henry is in Roanoke, Virginia. I have and keep her in good spirits. Don’t mention politics to me. I am miserably disappointed & apprehensive. I remain,

Your devoted mother,

Lucy Lee

 

 

Source: Facsimile of originals belonging to Carter Lee, vertical files, duPont Library, Stratford Hall

 

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 January 22

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